- Sen. John McCain addresses conspiracy theories regarding the salacious so-called Steele dossier in his new book, “The Restless Wave,” defending his decision to turn over the documents to former FBI Director James Comey.
- The Arizona Republican wrote that anyone who doesn’t like his decision to give the dossier to the FBI “can go to hell.”
- McCain gave the dossier, compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele, to the FBI in December 2016.
Sen. John McCain dives deep into conspiracy theories regarding the salacious so-called Steele dossier in his new book, “The Restless Wave,” defending his decision to turn over the documents to former FBI Director James Comey.
“Conspiracy theories have grown around what I did and why,” McCain wrote, saying those included that he’s a “double agent for Russia” and that he “acted out of jealousy” that Donald Trump won a presidential election when he didn’t.
But the Arizona Republican said he felt he had an obligation “to bring to the attention of appropriate officials unproven accusations I could not assess myself” that could make Trump vulnerable to a “hostile foreign power” if any of them were true.
“Anyone who doesn’t like it can go to hell,” McCain said, adding that he would “do it again.”
The infamous Trump-Russia dossier alleged the Kremlin had been “cultivating, supporting, and assisting” Trump for years under the direct orders of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Though certain parts of the 35-page document, compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele, have been verified, most of the allegations it contained were raw, uncorroborated intelligence.
That’s why McCain says he handed it over to the FBI to investigate: to protect Trump from “groundless conspiracy theories,” or to keep the Kremlin from using them to their advantage if the allegations were true.
- Aaron Bernstein/Reuters
One of the dossier’s most explosive but unconfirmed claims said Trump rented the presidential suite at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Moscow in 2013 and hired prostitutes to perform sexual acts in front of him that involved urination. The hotel is said to be monitored by Russian intelligence, and the dossier alleged that Russian authorities obtained footage of the events and used it as leverage over Trump.
The general concern is that if the information in the dossier is true, it could make Trump susceptible to blackmail by a foreign power. But many of the allegations within the documents are still unverified and the president has vehemently denied any collusion with the Russian government.
McCain gave the FBI the dossier in December 2016. While Trump and his defenders have claimed it formed the basis of the Russia investigation, the US intelligence community relied on several other pieces of evidence to launch their inquiry.
Two of those clues were discovering that Russian-linked hackers breached Democratic National Committee servers in 2015, and that a Trump aide had told an Australian diplomat Russia had “dirt” on Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton during a night of “heavy drinking” in May 2016.
McCain wrote that he has full faith in the special counsel Robert Mueller to conduct an impartial investigation into the Russian election interference and the Trump campaign’s possible connections to the Kremlin.
“I trust the FBI and Special Counsel Robert Mueller, an experienced, skilled prosecutor, and a man of exceptional probity and character, to separate fact from fiction, and get to the bottom of the so-called dossier,” the Arizona senator wrote. “If it is the product of slander or groundless fears, he’ll say so. If any of it is true, he’ll say so.”
“The Restless Wave: Good Times, Just Causes, Great Fights, and Other Appreciations,” McCain’s seventh book co-written with Mark Salter, is out Tuesday.